Indian Railways News

In Bengaluru, passengers bank on WhatsApp for real-time train updates

BENGALURU: How social media savvy is Bengaluru? Even before the clock strikes 8 in the morning, a WhatsApp group of office-goers called ‘Train to ITPL (4)’ gets flooded with real-time updates on suburban train services. In less than an hour, the 255-member group exchanges not less than 200 to 300 messages, all related to the location of their commute.

The group, among several others, goes mute throughout the day but the interactions resume once it is time to return home from work.

In the absence of instant information on trains (arrival and departure), users have created WhatsApp groups for real-time information. Members of these groups are mostly strangers to each other but who depend on trains for daily commute in the city.
WhatsApp groups like these have become more useful than mobile applications such as the official ‘Indian Railways’ NTES or ‘Where is my train’. Though these mobile apps are popular, users believe the information is not real-time.

“I know exactly where a particular train is all because of the instant updates I get from group members. Even though there are many mobile apps which provide train schedules, the delay in services are not reflected in those apps. For updates on trains to Whitefield alone, there are five WhatsApp groups,” Manohar DC, an engineer with Dell EMC Corporation at Mahadevapura, said.
With trains not always punctual, these groups are helping commuters plan their travel. “There are enough trains but they are not on time. There were days I spent more than an hour waiting for the train. I can avoid that now,” Pavan Diggavi, who works for the ITPB in Whitefield, said.

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